Sleep habits develop from birth, however not all sleep 'training' techniques will work for your bub. Here are some of the more recent, cue-based methods that may work for your baby after four months of age.
Sleeping alongside bub’s cot is a good technique if you don’t want to leave the room and bub wants you close. You often don’t need to do anything it’s your mere presence that helps bub feel secure enough to drift off to sleep. As bub gets older and more confident with sleep (around 16 months) this technique becomes the chair method and you can slowly move out of the room.
This is a gentle technique where you are tuned in to bub’s cries. It takes focused listening and being close to give comfort and support when needed. Sometimes it will be a cuddle and other times a ‘shhhh’ pat in the cot to help bub drift off to sleep.
This is similar to responsive-settling but is used for bubs that need your comforting touch at all times. It could involve stroking the forehead or applying gentle pressure over the chest and legs with or without rocking. Both these gentle techniques work well but can be irritating when used for bubs that don’t enjoy constant touch or when you are anxious.
Controlled comforting (intermittent comforting) is used for bubs older than four months of age. It emphasises control (not crying), responding to the intensity and distress of your bub’s cries as you go in and out of the room for about 50 minutes. This technique needs a plan outlined by your child health professional as it won’t work if done randomly. It’s tough going so make sure you have support from your partner and significant others. Ensure bub is healthy, there are no distractions in the cot, and all commitments can be put on-hold for four days. Work on both day and night sleeps. This technique works quickly when used for the right bub at the right age with the right commitment but can backfire and cause added stress and insecurity, for all concerned, if it’s not the appropriate choice.